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An ode to pneumatics

| written by twg

In June, a very important physicist will be celebrating his 394th birthday. Blaise Pascal was the pioneer of pneumatics and the behavior of air in a vacuum. Because of his work – the scientific foundation of thermodynamics and fluid power was created – and all the industries that came about as a result – ours included – owe our livelihood to him.

So what exactly is Pneumatics?

Put in the most simple terms possible – pneumatics is using compressed air to do work. So for example – think of the dentist’s office. While you might not see valves out in the open, they’re literally all around you. They can move the chair you’re sitting in. They control the speed of the drill being used to fix your cavity. They’re used to dispense air and water into your mouth while your choppers are getting cleaned. Even if you’re due for a dose of laughing gas – then the chances are your dentist is using a pneumatic valve to dispense the gas.

And of course, there are plenty of other examples out there to consider. Pneumatic valves package the food we get at the store. They milk cows. They are used to help put together complex applications like semiconductors and computer chips. And computer chips aren’t the only chips they make – they make the edible kind, too! They even bottle the soda or beer we use to wash them down.

So when you take a step back from your job and think about the enormity of the work of one French scientist a long, long time ago – it’s pretty humbling, isn’t it? Sometimes, we get a little bogged down in technical details – and hey – that stuff is important. It’s REALLY important, actually. But it’s incredible to think just how pneumatics and pneumatic valves impact so many aspects of our life on a daily basis – especially in our world where we’re working with Humphrey Valves.